(All fixtures Eastern Standard Time)
Southampton v Chelsea 7:30
(St. Mary’s) Simply put, both teams are desperate. The Saints, who are staring at relegation as they’re currently in 18th place, need 3 points in order to have a chance of clawing their way back to safety. (Crystal Palace, who sit right above the south coast club, only need a draw to ensure Southampton remain below them regardless of their result.) On the other hand, Chelsea’s desperation stems from the growing possibility that they will fail to qualify for next year’s Champions League. 10 points behind 4th placed Tottenham, the Blue’s may very well end the season in a Europa League spot. Additionally, manager Antonio Conte will most likely not be around to guide them through that competition as speculation mounts regarding his probable dismissal from the club. Chelsea’s David Luiz is out for yet another game, while Southampton’s Irish striker Shane Long (who scored last weekend in a loss against Arsenal) will lead the line for the Saints. Southampton to get a result.
Burnley v Leicester City 10:00
(Turf Moor) Burnley aren’t far off from achieving the unthinkable. The Clarets are only 5 points away from a European spot, despite the Lancashire side ending in 16th place last season. Leicester, who were very disappointing last weekend (a 2-1 loss at home to Newcastle), are currently 6 points behind Burnley and will be hoping to close the gap with the help of star players Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. However, the absence of Wilfred Ndidi will be a massive miss. The Nigerian midfielder can often control a match on his own. Burnley to take all 3 points.
Crystal Palace v Brighton 10:00
(Selhurst Park) The London club have had a rough go of it recently. Four out of their last six games have been against clubs in the top five. The Eagles have only picked up 4 points in that span. Their last match resulted in two points being snatched from them in the dying breaths against Bournemouth thanks to an 89th minute goal by Joshua King. Palace will be hoping that striker Christian Benteke will be fit, as the Belgium only just returned to training after being out with a groin injury. As for Brighton, the Seagulls have an incredibly difficult run of games to end the season. While they sit 7 points above the relegation zone, they could easily find themselves scraping for survival in 3 weeks time and points against a bottom feeder will be a must. Palace to win.
Swansea v Everton 10:00
(Liberty) Considering the amount of injuries plaguing both clubs, this match isn’t easy to call. While the Swans will surely be encouraged by the return of striker Jordan Ayew from suspension, the continued absences of Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony has been a huge obstacle for the Welsh side. Everton, despite a spirited effort against rivals Liverpool last weekend, are still without midfielder James McCarthy. Icelandic playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson is also questionable. Expect both clubs to cancel each other out.
Huddersfield v Watford 10:00
(John Smith) With only one win in their last seven, manager David Wagner has the tough task of steadying the ship and keeping Huddersfield in the Premier League. Only 4 points from danger, the Terriers are yet another club with a difficult end to the season. City, Chelsea, and Arsenal all await them, so a positive result against Watford in front of their own fans is a necessity. Watford are without Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu and will be looking to Troy Deeney and Roberto Pereyra to be the difference, the latter of whom will have the added incentive of a potential spot on Argentina’s World Cup squad. Watford to win.
Liverpool v Bournemouth 12:30
(Anfield) Fresh off of their Champions League second leg victory over Manchester City, Liverpool return to league play with their sights set on 3 points in order to secure European football for next season as soon as possible. Egyptian star Mo Salah is healthy but striker Roberto Firmino is questionable following a neck injury suffered this past week. Salah, who is on course for this season’s Golden Boot, will certainly be looking to exploit holes in Bournemouth’s defense. The Cherries have shipped 53 goals thus far this season. Bournemouth have lost midfielder Junior Stanislas for the season but have an otherwise clean bill of health. Additionally, the Boscombe boys have played spoiler in their last two matches, having scored decisive goals in the dying minutes of each game, and manager Eddie Howe would surely be content if his side leaves with a point. Liverpool to win by multiple goals.
Tottenham v Manchester City 2:45
(Wembley) GAME OF THE WEEKEND. Considering the time of kickoff, most of the footballing world will have their collective eyes on City’s possible title win. 3 points will be enough to see the title return to the blue side of Manchester should rivals Manchester United lose, which is unlikely given that they face abhorrent West Brom at home. However, the aforesaid is easier said than done, because City have hit a bit of a rough patch. The Cityzens have lost their last three games and have given up nine goals in the process. Furthermore, Spurs’ striker Harry Kane, who has recently had a goal retroactively credited to him, is also in the hunt for the Golden Boot, alongside Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and will want to add to his tally. City manager Pep Guardiola will want the league title secured without hesitation, but if Spurs win, could the Sky Blues cement their losing way and nosedive down the table? Expect a heavily contested match resulting in a draw.